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A.I.Mikoyan. Normalization would be But we are glad that when today our plane these technical issues with you. I would like complete if the Soviet Union, the USA and flew over Cuba, it was not shot at. As far as to speak on another, more important quesCuba signed a joint document together with we know, the anti-aircraft missiles deployed tion. It is out of question that we agree with the UN Secretary General on the basis of in Cuba are not in the hands of the Cubans, you now on overflights of your plans over the exchange of letters between N.S. but in the hands of your people. Today we Cuba: it is sovereign Cuban territory. But if Khrushchev and J. Kennedy. In any case, intercepted radio-commands and conversa- the USA agreed to the inspection over the this issue cannot be resolved without Cuba. tions of the anti-aircraft units deployed in area of Miami, it would be a good thing. A decision in which Cuba is not a party will Cuba and that confirmed us again in our Then, possibly. the Cubans would agree to not be binding for her. Cuba must have guar- conclusion. I must say that we are glad that such inspection over their territory. One canantees of non-intervention.
these anti-aircraft missiles are in the hands not not carry out unilateral inspection - no I would like to know: do you have any of the Russians whose hands are not itching matter which, ground or aerial. The Cubans ideas about forms of control? If you have like the hands of the Cubans.
would have full reason to be offended, if them - discuss them in the next few days In passing, I would like to say that al- you were granted the right of regular and with V.V. Kuznetsov.
though we do not include anti-aircraft mis- permanent overflight over their territory, in Stevenson. As to the territorial integ- siles into the category of offensive weap
a unilateral way. rity of Cuba, the formulas in the letter of ons, we would very much like that you
As for inspections which must ensure Kennedy are simple and clear: after certain draw these missiles as well.
a verification of the dismantling and withtypes of weapons will be removed from A.1. Mikoyan. As I see, your sense of drawal of our missiles, here we stand on the Cuba, the USA will make an announcement humor has completely disappeared. same position that was expressed in the letabout the guarantee against any kind of in- Stevenson. In your conversations in ters of N.S. Khrushchev. vasion of Cuba.
Havana you could cite good arguments in Stevenson. As to ground inspection, it McCloy. As to the forms of verifica- favor ground inspection: on one side, it was U Thant, not us, who came up with a tion, the ideal form in my mind would be would assure us that you are fulfilling your proposal about the presence of UN inspecregular overflights by planes doing aerial obligations, on the other hand, Castro would tors during the dismantling and withdrawal photo-reconnaissance, and ground inspec- obtain confidence that no invasion of Cuba of the missiles. Incidentally, he had in mind tion. I hope that the Soviet Union would bear would take place: since U.N. observers permanent inspection till the end of dismanon Castro so that he will agree to the con- would be around.
tling of the missiles. This would serve the duct of such inspection as was stipulated in A.I.Mikoyan. I believe that in the interests of both sides. I understand that the letter of N.S.Khrushchev. However, if course of today's conversation we laid the Cuba is an independent country, but if it Castro refuses to accept such inspection, we ground for upcoming negotiations. I think agrees with this, then there would be no need should look for another form. The USA that we should not now go into detail. You to seek other forms of check-up. might continue overflights by its planes giv- should reflect on what we have spoken about A.I.Mikoyan. We agree to conduct ing us confidence that one does not resume here. We will prepare our drafts as well. It ground inspection, as the letter of N.S. in Cuba assembly of types of weapons that seems to me that until the election day it Khrushchev stated, but it is necessary to represent danger for us. But in this case we would be hard for you to take any decisions, have some kind of element of reciprocity would like to have assurances that our plans but, on the other hand, one should not pro- so that this understanding does not affect will not be downed. One could also consider crastinate with liquidation of the Cuban cri- the national feelings of the Cubans. This also yet another possibility. Could you pass to sis.
flows from my conversation with U Thant. us the lists of armament that is being with Stevenson. We could agree even tomor- I would like to know if McCloy and drawn from Cuba? We know approximately row in all details with a plan of inspection Stevenson consider today's exchange of how many missiles you now have in Cuba. of ships by the forces of the Red Cross if opinion useful? If you could pass to us the lists of what you both sides approve of the proposal of U Stevenson. The conversation was usewill transport on your ships (of course, I Thant. We should not put off resolution of ful and I became persuaded that our posiunderstand that these documents will not this issue. What flag would be on these two tions stay not too far apart. contain specifications of these armaments), inspection ships is of no significance to us. A.I.Mikoyan. There is misunderstandthen through comparison of this data with As to the oversight of the territory of ing (nedoponimaniie) as far as the issue of the data about the presence of armaments Cuba, if Castro refuses to agree on ground reciprocity of inspections is concerned. U
U in Cuba, that is in our disposal, we would inspection, we could limit ourselves to uni- Thant said that Castro is concerned with the follow the process of evacuation of arma- lateral conduct of aerial reconnaissance. For presence on the USA of camps where Cuments that are of danger for us. I believe this we would only need your assurance that ban emigres prepare themselves for invathat this would be enough. In this case we our planes will not be shot at.
sion similar to one that took place last year. would get on along ground inspection.
McCloy. It seems that it would take not McCloy. I must assure you that these The system of passing of the lists of 10-15 days, but probably a month for re- camps no longer exist, they are closed evcargo removed from Cuba would not touch moval of your missiles.
erywhere. on your security interests. As to overflights, A.I.Mikoyan. All these are (mere] de- A.I.Mikoyan. You mean that they do you, as we understand, cannot guarantee that tails. We brought with us military experts - not exist in Latin American countries as the Cubans would not shoot at our planes. a general and colonel, who could discuss all well?
satisfied with today's exchange of opinions. I would be glad to meet you and follow up on this conversation, on your way back from Cuba.
The conversation lasted for 3 hours 40 minutes. Those present were com. V.V. Kuznetsov, A.F. Dobrynin, M.A. Menshikov, G.A. Zhukov; from the American side participated J. McCloy, A. Stevenson, A. Akalovsky.
McCloy. The camps are closed every- become more relaxed. where. Perhaps there is something some- A.I.Mikoyan. It is very important what where, but in any case the USA does not you are saying. Castro might ask me: is the support this business.
USA going to restore diplomatic and ecoA.I.Mikoyan. But you count Cuban nomic relations with Cuba or this question emigres among your own military forces? is not on the agenda? Perhaps you have in
McCloy. We are not training them for mind not to do it right away, but after some invasion of Cuba. We allow volunteers of time? I would like to know what I can tell any nationality to be enlisted in our mili- Castro. tary forces, even Russians can do it. In any Stevenson. You understand that I cancase, I assure you that there are no more not answer this question. It is within the camps in the USA where Cuban emigres are competence of the Organization of Ameritrained, prepared for invasion of Cuba. can States. We cannot conduct business with
However I would like to tell you Castro without its involvement. But one frankly, that any inspection on USA terri- could think of certain regional arrangements tory is out of question. You have to trust in providing confidence to the countries of the our word.
Caribbean sea. I hope that we would be able Stevenson. I want to say that the USA gradually to liquidate the antagonism beis trying to normalize the situation in the tween Cuba and her neighbors. Now this area of the Caribbean sea, but on condition antagonism is being heated by subversive of Castro's cooperation. We might work out activities which, perhaps, reciprocate each some form of mutual gua ntees acceptable other in this region. for Castro and his neighbors. If Castro is McCloy. I would say that Cuba is the afraid of them, they, too, are afraid of him. I source of infection, and the recent events in believe that after the settlement of the Cu- Venezuela provide an example. But I would ban crisis the situation in this region will not like to dwell now on this issue. I am
(Source: AVP RF; obtained by NHK, provided to CWIHP, copy on file at National Security Archive; translation by Vladislav M. Zubok (National Security Archive).]
Telegram from Soviet Ambassador to
Ministry, 2 November 1962
2 November 1962
THE MIKOYAN-CASTRO in response to the publication in the mentary evidence from Cuban, Russian, TALKS, 4-5 NOVEMBER 1962: Bulletin in 1995 of lengthy Soviet and American sources, as well as a conTHE CUBAN VERSION records of the same conversations. The tinuation of the oral history process that
materials were obtained from the Insti- has begun to involve senior Cuban of[Editor's Note: While a large, al- tute of History in Cuba by Prof. Philip ficials in international explorations of beit incomplete, complex of Russian Brenner (American University), who such key events as the Bay of Pigs and documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis provided them to CWIHP, and trans- Cuban Missile Crisis,2 is clearly a pre
has become available to researchers lated from Spanish by Carlos Osorio condition for a serious and comprehensince 1991-as exemplified by the (National Security Archive).
sive analysis. selction of translated materials in this While the Cuban documents them- Unfortunately, little information is and past Bulletins—documents on the selves do not offer any startling infor- available at present on the provenance events of the fall of 1962 are still only mation or insights not present in the far of the Cuban documents provided bebeginning to trickle out of Cuban ar- more detailed Soviet records of the low, including their precise archival lochives. The two documents below, same conversations—a quick compari- cation or who took the notes that are translated from Spanish, represent a rare son of the two versions of the identical presented; the Bulletin hopes to supply and encouraging sign (as does Piero conversations finds them broadly com- additional information, as well as furGleijeses' article on Cuban policy in patible—they are presented as a sym- ther evidence from Cuban archives Africa elsewhere in this issue) that pros- bol of what historians can hope will be should it emerge, in future issues.) pects for historical research in Cuban a thorough process of eventually reconarchives may improve.
structing Soviet-Cuban relations on the [Translator's Note: The translaThe Cuban records concern the basis of solid archival evidence from tions at times read awkwardly, for the tense conversations between Fidel both sides, which can then be compared Spanish documents themselves are ocCastro (and other members of the Cu- and cross-checked. Given the amount casionally confusing, mixing tenses, ban leadership) and senior Soviet en- of passion and controversy that has sur- subjects and objects in the same phrase. voy Anastas I. Mikoyan on 4-5 Novem- rounded this question during the Cold Mikoyan, a Soviet national, appears to ber 1962, in the immediate aftermath War, and which continues to infuse be speaking a Castillian Spanish, as he of USSR Premier Nikita Khrushchev's U.S.-Cuban relations (as Fidel Castro often uses the auxiliary "haber" for the acceptance on October 28 of U.S. Presi- remains in charge nearly four decades past tense. The note-taker is presumably dent John F. Kennedy's demand that he after the revolution that brought him to a Cuban national, so he sometimes skips withdraw Soviet nuclear missiles from power), the availability of scholarly per- transcribing the past tense as was used Cuba. They were apparently released spectives and contemporaneous docu
continued on page 339
We will inform Fidel Castro of the con- information from our side, I said, should be Yesterday in the hour-long discussion tent of the documents (not further identified- discussed with our military specialists, who with McCloy and Stevenson, the positions -ed.). He has entrusted me to convey a trans- arrived with me to aid Kuznetsov.
of the parties on all issues connected with lation of the draft to President Dorticos, and McCloy reported with great satisfac- the Cuban conflict were explained, as well to reach an agreement with him on all points. tion that on 1 November their plane had as the American position in the form in
Dorticos, having read through the flown over Cuba without being fired at, and which the Americans consider it necessary document, said that in principle the docu- had made photos. He attributed this to the to define it. ment serves the interests of Cuba, and that presence of Soviet specialists at the anti-air- We will be sending to you a short exit would be approved. craft missile installations.
position of the most important points of the Separate remarks will be introduced I conclude that if our agreement with discussion within 2 or 3 hours, and today, 2 after the discussion of our proposals with Castro not to shoot down American planes November and 1:00 in the afternoon I will Fidel Castro and the other leaders, and also retains its force, then when they fly one or be flying to Cuba. Our comrades will comafter their talks with Comrade A. I. Mikoyan, two more times it will mean that inspections pose a detailed record of the conversation, which are slated for today.
on the dismantling have been carried out. and will send it after I am gone. The con
There remains the issue of inspections on versation was important, and you should 2.XI.62 ALEKSEEV the removal of the dismantled weaponry, become familiarized with that detailed
which could be resolved through means sug- record of it. (Source: AVP RF; copy obtained by NHK, gested by McCloy.
McCloy has declared that with the aim provided to CWIHP, and on file at National In view of this, Castro's position, which of speeding up the removal of the missiles, Security Archive, Washington, D.C.; trans- rejects the possibility of on-site inspections, before the fine-tuning of the observation lation by John Henriksen.]
will cease to be an obstacle to settling with system by the Red Cross has been reached,
the Americans the issue of monitoring the they agree to and are interested in allowing Telegram from A.I. Mikoyan in New dismantling and removal of the weaponry. Soviet vessels bound for Cuba entry into York to CC CPSU, 2 November 1962 I consider all this to be expedient. Cuban ports without inspection, by way of
In my talks with Castro I will fully ex- a hail like the one that was given to the 2 November 1962 plain our position on the issue of monitor- tanker “Bucharest."
ing in accordance with Khrushchev’s mes- We are introducing a proposal to give From the following telegram you will sage, I will show him its correctness and instructions to all our vessels bound for learn the details of the important statement acceptability, from our point of view, for Cuba to proceed to their destinations. made by McCloy in the talks on monitoring Cuba. the dismantling of the “offensive weaponry.” In connection with the Americans' pro
2.XI.62 A. MIKOYAN He declared that in view of Castro's refusal posal laid out earlier, and taking into account to agree to a ground-based monitoring, the the Cubans’ arrogance, I consider it expedi- (Source: AVP RF; copy obtained by NHK, Americans were willing not to insist (on ent not to insist or ensure that they reject provided to CWIHP, and on file at National that), knowing the forms and methods of their position on not allowing observers onto Security Archive, Washington, D.C.; transmonitoring put forth in Khrushchev's mes- their territory to check on the dismantling lation by John Henriksen.) sage, [but) that it was necessary to find other and removal process, the position which methods for convincing the Americans that they have made clear to U Thant and have Telegram from USSR Foreign Minister the dismantling process had been completed published several times in the press. A. Gromyko to unidentified recipient, 2 and that everything had been removed. In truth, in Castro's speech yesterday
November 1962 In response to my question about this position was made to seem somewhat whether there was some concrete proposal more flexible.
2 November 1962 as to how this should be done, he said the I await instructions concerning this following: to allow them the possibility of matter in Havana.
The head of the American delegation flights over Cuba for inspections from the
at the negotiations in New York, McCloy, air, without ground-based monitoring; this
2.XI.62 A. MIKOYAN has informed Comrade Kuznetsov on 31 was the first point. The second was that the
October that Washington has decided that Soviets provide the Americans with infor- (Source: AVP RF; copy obtained by NHK, until the Red Cross has begun its monitormation about how much of the weaponry provided to CWIHP, and on file at National ing of the vessels bound for Cuba, it would has been dismantled and removed, and Security Archive, Washington, D.C.; trans- not carry out inspections on these vessels, when. The important part of this is not to lation by John Henriksen.)
but to apply to them the same procedure that impart secret military information that re
was applied to the tanker “Bucharest.” Durveals the nature and capacities of this weap- Telegram from A.I Mikoyan in New ing this time the “quarantine” will be offionry.
York to CC CPSU, 2 November 1962 cially continued. I rejected here the possibility of flights
As is well known, the tanker over Cuba, since that would affect the sov
2 November 1962 "Bucharest" passed through a region under ereignty of Cuba itself. The proposal about
American “quarantine" without hindrance. Six Soviet vessels now on the open sea be- could be reduced to radio interrogations of carrying out of such inspections. In future yond the announced limits of the “quaran- passing ships, Narasimhan answered that in negotiations we should proceed from the tine” have received orders to proceed into many cases it will be precisely that, but that assumption that the Soviet Union will asthe Cuban ports, and at present they are now the International Red Cross observers should sume expenses only for the maintenance of on their way toward Cuba.
have the right to carry out inspections (to Soviet vessels. As far as the maintenance of
check documents, to inspect ship holds, and the International Red Cross vessels is conA. G. so on), if such a necessity should arise. cerned, we will push for the USA or the UN
Our representatives remarked that such bearing the burden of these expenses. (It is (Source: AVP RF; copy obtained by NHK, a proposal from Narasimhan concerning the not out of the question that the International provided to CWIHP, and on file at National conferral to the International Red Cross Red Cross will itself pay the expenses for Security Archive, Washington, D.C.; trans- groups of inspection rights contradicts the the upkeep of the groups.) lation by John Henriksen.)
views expressed earlier by Stevenson. We On the issue of how long the inspec
will continue to insist that the inspections tion procedure by the International Red Telegram from Soviet Deputy Foreign be limited to interrogations by radio. Cross would be continued, Narasimhan said Minister V. V. Kuznetsov and Ambassa- The USA, Narasimhan continued, is that it should be carried out for a period of
dor to the UN V.A. Zorin to USSR prepared to provide its own transportation three to four weeks. But it is possible that Foreign Ministry, 3 November 1962 for the International Red Cross inspectors. the duration could be shorter. Everything de
This may be ordinary transportation for the pends on how long the removal of weap3 November 1962 conveyance of troops, even though they onry from Cuba would continue. As soon
would be unarmed and would contain on as all the weaponry is removed, the inspecOn 3 November Morozov, Mendel- board civilian passengers.
tions, it seems, should cease. evich, and Timerbaev had a meeting with We told Narasimhan that the Soviet We emphasized that the inspections on Narasimhan and Loutfi (replacing U Thant) Union, as had already been declared to U vessels by the International Red Cross for the examination of technical issues con- Thant, had given its consent to the convey
should be of a short-term nature, as was nected with the sending of observers from ance of the International Red Cross observ- declared by U Thant in his provisional prothe International Red Cross Committee to ers either by Soviet or by neutral vessels. posal concerning this issue, which was apascertain that on the Soviet vessels bound Narasimhan responded that he knew about proved by the Soviet Union. In the future, for Cuba there is no weaponry considered this, but all the same considered it possible with regard to time limits we will proceed offensive by the USA.
to inform the Soviet Union of this proposal with aim of imposing the shortest possible Narasimhan said that the the secretariat by the USA, which, Narasimhan said, works limits. We will aim for ceasing the inspecof the UN in New York had not yet received towards the interests of a speedy organiza- tions immediately after the removal of the the definitive consent of the International tion of the inspections. The USA, in his dismantled installations, and the approval Red Cross to its participation in the organi- words, has no objections to the use of So- by the Security Council of corresponding zation of the monitoring. An answer from viet ships. Narasimhan asked us to explain, resolutions for the conclusive settlement of the Red Cross could be received today, 3 if possible by 5 November, how soon the the Cuban crisis. November.
Soviet Union could prepare its ships for the If our approval of the conveyance of Narasimhan also laid out the thoughts International Red Cross observers. For his the International Red Cross representatives of the Americans, as he understood them, part, Narasimhan will make inquiries by this on Soviet ships is still valid, we ask that you regarding the Red Cross's monitoring pro- time about the possibility of chartering neu- inform us immediately of which vessels in cedure. tral vessels located near Cuba.
particular are being selected for this purpose, The USA considers it expedient to de- Narasimhan raised the issue of reim- and when they can arrive in the Caribbean ploy two vessels with observers from the bursing the costs of chartering the vessels Sea area. International Red Cross on the open sea near and constituting the International Red Cross Since the Cubans will evidently not the Cuban coast--one 8 to 10 miles off Ha- groups. In response to the question of how agree to admit the International Red Cross vana, and another in the strait between Cuba the USA imagines covering the costs asso- observers onto the territory of Cuba in orand Haiti. The vessels should have radio ciated with the carrying out of inspections der to then admit them onto Soviet ships, contact with the UN. On each vessel there by the International Red Cross, Narasimhan we ask that you inform us what would the should be two groups of International Red said that it was proposing two possible vari- most appropriate port in the Caribbean Sea Cross observers. Each group should contain ants either through the UN (that is, accord- area in which to take on board these Intereight observers. In this way, 32 observers ing to their pay scale), or to divide the costs national Red Cross observers. will be needed in all.
equally between the USSR and the USA. The next meeting with Narasimhan is In response to our question about how Our representatives answered that the slated for the morning of 5 November. to manage such a large number of observ- USA had illegally imposed the so-called ers, especially when bearing in mind that “quarantine,” that they were now pushing
3.X1.62 V. KUZNETSOV Stevenson in his talks with us on 1 Novem- for inspections on vessels bound for Cuba,
V. ZORIN ber of this year had expressed his view that and that it was completely clear that it is the International Red Cross inspections they who should covers the expenses for the (Source: AVP RF; copy obtained by NHK, provided to CWIHP, and on file at National Security Archive, Washington, D.C.; translation by John Henriksen, Harvard University.]
Telegram from Soviet Ambassador to
Ministry, 4 November 196218
4 November 1962
Today talks were conducted between A.I. Mikoyan and Comrades Fidel Castro, 0. Dorticos, R. Castro, E. Guevara, E. Aragonez, and C.R. Rodriguez, as well as myself.
Comrade Mikoyan conveyed warm, fraternal greetings from the Presidium of the CC CPSU and N.S. Khrushchev to the Cuban leaders. He expressed a lofty appreciation of the Cuban revolution, and support for the rebuff to the interventionists; he spoke about our support for Cuba; and he remarked that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was delighted by the courage and fearlessness displayed by the leaders of Cuba's revolution in these perilous days, and the readiness of the Cuban people to hold firm. Then Comrade Mikoyan said that when the Central Committee learned of the misunderstanding arising in Cuba of several issues and decisions made by us, they came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to clarify these issues by way of mere correspondence. The Central Committee made the decision to send Comrade Mikoyan to Cuba to clarify to our friends our position, and to inform them of issues that are of interest to them. Comrade Mikoyan remarked that he naturally did not have any intention of exerting pressure; his task was simply to explain our position.
Knowing our Cuban friends, A.I. Mikoyan said, I am sure that they too will agree with this. It could of course turn out such that even after the explanations there will be certain points on which our points of view will remain different.
Fidel Castro declared that he has already informed the Cuban comrades present at the talks of the issues raised by him yesterday before Comrade Mikoyan, and made a short resume of these issues.
A.I. Mikoyan remarked that Fidel Castro spoke yesterday in detail and with sincerity, and asked whether the other com
rades wanted to add anything to this,
0. Dorticos asked for an explanation Stevenson should make in connection with
offensive weaponry[?] After all, these planes C.R. Rodriguez put a question to Com- are of a type considered outmoded both in rade Mikoyan- where does the Soviet lead- its altitude ceilings and in its speed. The ership see the essence of victory, does it putting forth of such a demand constitutes consist in military success or in diplomatic an intentional seeking out of issues that ensuccess? We believed, Rodriguez noted, that courage discord and a continuation of the we could not yet talk about victory, since tense state of our relations. the guarantees from the USA were ephem- The planes mentioned by Stevenson eral.
are associated with coastal defense weapThen A.I. Mikoyan, developing argu- onry. Such a plane cannot appear in condiments made in N.S. Khrushchev's letters to tions of war over enemy territory, since it Fidel Castro, and also from the discussion does not possess the capacity for attaining of the issue in the Central Committee of the the necessary altitude and speed. It can apCommunist Party of the Soviet Union, of- pear over such territory only with an air esfered additional arguments with the aim of cort. Virtually any military expert would driving away any doubts from the minds of recognize that these planes cannot be placed our Cuban comrades. He spoke moreover in the category of offensive weaponry at the of the main points of his talks with U Thant,
present time. McCloy, and Stevenson.
If the USA honestly gave assurances We will send a full record of the con- that it would not invade Cuba, then the posversation to Moscow via diplomatic mail. session of these planes by the Cubans should Further information on certain new points not elicit any concern. touched on in Mikoyan's explanations will We understood the concerns of the be provided by separate telegram.
Americans when talk began to turn to a defiThe talks lasted seven hours, more than nite sort of missile weaponry. Missiles are five hours of which were taken up by Com- indeed an uninterceptable and instantarade Mikoyan's explanations. Our Cuban neously effective sort of weapon. There is comrades listened with attentiveness to A.I. no reason to put outdated weaponry in the Mikoyan, were interested in details, and offensive category. Such weaponry will sustained the general feeling of cordiality have a defensive, auxiliary function. and trust.
As far as photo reconnaissance and reWe agreed to continue the talks in the connaissance in general are concerned, used same composition tomorrow, on 5 Novem- as they are by all countries, experience ber, at 2:00 in the afternoon local time. shows that it does not always reflect the ac
tual situation. 4.XI.62 ALEKSEEV All this provides the grounds for con
cluding that the most important issues here (Source: AVP RF; copy obtained by NHK, must be talked about. We must mutually provided to CWIHP, and on file at National fulfill the obligations assumed by all parSecurity Archive, Washington, D.C.; trans- ties, and then the issue will be exhausted. lation by John Henriksen.)
lation by John Henriksen, Harvard Univer4 November 1962 sity)